I hate Open and Closed signs on stores.
The way I see it, there's sumpin' big-time wrong with your establishment if it doesn't pulsate a vibe of activity during opening hours, and even at 2:00 a.m. on an empty street, I always felt a "Closed" sign in the window sends a bummer of a message.
Put another way, you got trouble if your walk-up customers have to wonder whether you're open...and there has to be a way to continue communicating your message when you're not.
Case in point of someone doing it right was this Vilebrequin store I saw in Florence during my recent Italian jaunt. These guys sell high-priced, luxury bathing suits for men, and even though the Florence store was a tiny, corner shop run by one sole salesperson, the lighting, the displays and the discrete sounds hammered home "Open"...even when no customers were in the shop.
But what I really dug was the what they did after hours (see photo below). They ain't closed; they have just "Gone Tanning."
Skin cancer worries aside, this is a perfect example of literally sweating the small stuff for maximum Pow! potential.
Let's face it folks, in an always-on, interconnected, 24/7 world, can any one of our businesses EVER afford to be perceived as "closed"?
Your customers may not be able to see what you're doing, but don't let 'em think you ain't humming...